During a divorce or a separation, New York parents will have to make decisions about how they will deal with custody. If parents have joint custody, they will need to create a schedule for when the kids will spend time with each parent.

When parents are creating a parenting schedule, they should focus on their children’s needs and not convenience. While some of the final decisions may be convenient for a parent, others may not. Furthermore, parents should never use the parenting schedule as a way to get back at their former partner. Instead, the focus should entirely be on supporting the children and their ability to maintain strong bonds with both parents.

Parents should be prepared to face changes down the road. This may include relocating so that a parent is closer to the kids’ school or signing them up for an activity later on. There are many factors that could be out of a parent’s control and prevent him or her from meeting a certain condition, such as a change in the person’s financial situation or the need to move elsewhere. Finally, parents should not look at creating a parenting schedule as a win-or-lose situation. Both parents will have to make sacrifices, so maintaining focus on the kids can help keep the discussion civil.

Even when parents do their best to be civil during child custody discussions, emotions can make it difficult to remain amicable when going through a divorce. A family law attorney may assist with parenting plan negotiations by helping a parent work out a feasible schedule. If the other parent is refusing to work with a parent to reach an agreement that benefits the children, the attorney may represent the parent in court.